It’s time to enter the James Beard Awards. And there’s good news: There will be no charge to enter for two weeks: October 15-30, 2018. First-time entrants in the journalism awards may submit work for free anytime.
This is a change to the usual entrance fees, which cost $150 per entry (or $100 if you’re a member of the foundation). The foundation announced these and other changes recently in the hopes of attracting a more diverse pool of entrants. They also announced that they’re working on making the organization and its volunteers more diverse.
The goals are to “increase gender, race, and ethnic representation in the governance and outcomes of the Awards, as well as to increase transparency of the judging process, and to make entry to the Awards more accessible than ever before.”
The writing and publishing awards are for articles and books, broadcast media and design. You’ll notice in the journalism category that there is no longer a category for blogging. If you have a blog you can enter your work in multiple categories, such as a Column, Home Cooking, or Personal Essay.
You may not have to enter if you are the author of a traditionally-published book. Confirm that your publisher will enter it for you. But if they won’t, during this two-week period, enter your book for free.
Diversity is an issue
I’ve been a book judge a few times and consider it a great honor. I was a judge for the 2018 book awards. I probably shouldn’t tell you that I researched the authors in my category and discovered that, of the more than 40 books, possibly only two were written by people of color. Two. I mentioned this in my write-up to the committee chair.
Our industry has a bigger problem than just replacing the judges and committee members with a more diverse population. We also need more submissions by people of color and we need more books and articles written by people of color.
We need more entrees by women too, as the press release suggests. Are men just better at applying for awards? Or do publications hire more men and then submit their work for awards? It’s something to ponder, but regardless,the pool needs to expand.
Do your research before you submit! Read these posts to see what kind of stories and books won previous awards:
- How Michael Twitty Wrote the James Beard Book of the Year
- What Kind of Writing Wins a Beard Award?
- 9 James Beard Award-Winning Stories, and Why They Won
- Who Won These Beard Journalism Awards and Why
Here’s how to enter
The best reason to enter is to be recognized for the quality of your work, which leads to more opportunities. Plus, do you want to pay $150 per article or book because you procrastinated? No? Well then, now’s the time.
The call for entries started yesterday, October 15, 2019. As it says in the press release: “There is a two-week period of free entry (to allow equal access to all). After that you will have to pay $100 entry fee for JBF members and $150 for non-members.”
Only work published in 2018 is eligible. Get started here and pick the relevant category to enter.
Remember that if you don’t apply, you can’t win. Good luck.